What are some of the secrets of the Freemasons

The Secrets of the Masons

"The most obvious and yet most secret secret of the Freemasons is that they are and that they continue." (Johann Gottlieb Fichte)
T he rectangular temple room is bathed in magical blue light. At the western entrance are the two pillars Jachin and Boaz, which symbolize justice and benevolence. Opposite to the east is the ornate throne of the master who directs the lodge. In front of him there is a kind of altar on which the Bible lies with a square and compass.
In the middle of the room rests a so-called work carpet on which the most important Masonic symbols and signs can be found - flanked by three further pillars that carry candles and are also lit during the ritual in the box. These pillars stand for wisdom, strength and beauty for the ethical perfection of the human being. The majority of the lodge brothers sit on the long sides. Apprentices in the north, journeymen in the south. Officials, so-called civil servants, have their own seats.
Klaus Stieringer frankly explains this temple room in the Logenhaus on Franz-Ludwig-Straße: "It is not considered a sacred room, but must be entered with due respect." The 48-year-old is the "Master of the Chair" (the chairman) of the Bamberg Freemason Lodge "Zur Fraternisation an der Regnitz". The full-time managing director of Stadtmarketings Bamberg chats freely about his all-male association of fifty to one hundred members between the ages of 25 and 95 years. When listening for the first time, the misunderstanding that the Freemasons are entangled in "dark machinations" and secret masterminds of world affairs evaporates.
For conspiracy theorists, it must be sobering what Klaus Stieringer reveals about his brothers: "We consciously open ourselves to guests," he says. And then adds: "You have to experience our rituals yourself to understand Freemasonry, everyone experiences it differently."
It is true that there is now an abundance of literature about the Freemasons. And yet she is surrounded by an aura of secrecy. This may be due to the unconditional secrecy, which is the highest virtue for the Lodge Brothers. But "our secret is that there is no secret," says Karl-Henning Kröger, previously Grand Chancellor of the Grand Lodge of the Old Free and Accepted Masons of Germany. The largest grand lodge with around 10,000 members (out of a total of five) recently met for its grand lodge day in Bamberg.
Grand Master Stephan Roth-Kleyer presides over this meeting. In a press conference, the university professor names the basic principles of Freemasonry: humanism, tolerance, equality, freedom and brotherhood. "Freemasonry has nothing to do with religion, we do not proselytize," emphasizes the Grand Master. Especially the topics of religion and daily politics "are taboo in our events". Roth-Kleyer philosophizes about Masonic thinking and acting, that this is related to this world on an ethical basis. Anyone who asks about the meaning of Freemasonry with its ancient symbols and allegorical actions will get the answer: "Spiritual development and development of a moral attitude to life", achievable through "an angular lifestyle and thoughts freed from the slavery of prejudice". After all, freedom of belief, conscience and thought were among the highest goods of the Freemasons.
Klaus Stieringer, the Bamberg "master of the chair", takes up these words: "Every Freemason works primarily on himself, we have no dogma." Rather, it is about reflecting on yourself, getting better and working on yourself. Showing ways to the neighbor and to values. Traditions from the tradition of European cathedral builders played a role and led to an interplay of mind and spirit.
The first lodge was founded in England over 300 years ago. Even today, "free men of good reputation" strive for lodges all over the world regardless of their religious beliefs, political convictions, social differences or nationality. That means: in the free world. Because in autocratic regimes, in dictatorships, fundamentalist states, the Freemasons and their ideals are forbidden. Freemasonry was not possible either with the National Socialists in the "Third Reich" or in the GDR.
When you listen a second time, it becomes clear that the Freemasons are not a "secret society". However, they have to be granted "secrets" such as the traditional identification tags: hand signals, handles and word codes from the world of building works. This means that strangers can identify themselves as like-minded people.
Personal secret may also remain what everyone felt when they were accepted into the men's society: in the darkened "Chamber of Lost Steps" including props such as a skull and an hourglass.
Soon after the founding of the first lodge, the church came on the scene, which refused to accept the ritual practice of the Freemasons behind closed doors and their barely Christian "God - Great Builder of All Worlds". Pope Clement XII. (1652 to 1740) first condemned Freemasonry in the form of the bull "In Elementi Apostolatus Specula". The membership of believers, laypeople and clergy in the Masonic lodges and any support were forbidden under penalty of punishment: excommunication threatened. As a result, the popes maintained the suspicion of heresy. To them, Freemasonry appeared to be a heretical sect to be condemned.
In 1983 the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who later became Pope Benedict XVI. - proclaims: "The Church's negative judgment on the Masonic Associations ... remains unchanged because their principles have always been considered incompatible with the teaching of the Church and therefore membership of them remains forbidden ...".
A new Vatican message towards Freemasons has not existed since then. "The judgment of the Vatican is still valid", states the Bamberg church historian and cathedral chapter Norbert Jung. But this dictum should be classified in a "moral category" and left to the individual's conscience decision.
This is how the Evangelical Church handles it. The cathedral chapter even conjures up a prominent churchman with a smile: Prince-Bishop Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim (1757 to 1779) "was a member of the Freemasons, although excommunication was forbidden". The Bamberg canon lawyer Professor Alfred Hierold also says unequivocally: "Freemasonry is not welcomed by the Church, but there are no longer any sanctions for membership."